Tag Archives: Flex

Best way to get Flex Builder in Greece

As I have already mention in older posts, Flex Builder is a really nice coding editor for Actionscript 3. Yes pure AS3, no Flex framework at all.

I know that using an IDE without timeline and library and all the cool stuff that Flash IDE has to offer is  a bit scary, at least for those of us that have an animation background but believe me.. Today, with the power of AS3, Flex Builder is the best code editor that Adobe has to offer.

I can tell you that when I bought Flex Builder 2, I had to pay 900 euros and that was almost a full salary for me back then! Switching to pure AS3 development it wasn’t also an option for me for many reasons so I had to buy it my self.. just for my self! There was no other way to buy Flex Builder like for example buy it straight from Adobe so I had to use the official channel, which was the distributor way. I live in a country were software piracy “shines” but I wanted to buy Flex Builder.

Why?

There are cases that an independent developer writes a really nice app and sells it for lets say 30-40 euros. I can not believe that there are people out there that will still try to use a cracked version of the app, no matter if they spend the same amount of money or more to buy crap. Yes I have met people that pay M$ to use XBox live but they don’t even consider buying lets say Transmit :O

This is what I call sad..

Now for the Adobe case, Flex Builder was expensive and definitely Adobe wasn’t the small company that needed my 900 euros to keep developing Flex Builder of course. But I gave them the money and let me tell you that I haven’t regret. I love Flex Builder and every day I love it more and more. Yes there are alternatives out there but since it works for me I just keep using it. 900 euros was and still is a lot of money but the feeling that I paid the efforts of all these guys from the Flex Builder team is really nice. Other way to express this would be  that every (or at least almost every) bit of FB worths it. A friend of mine believes the same  for Ableton Live. I don’t see this as paying a big corporation.. I see it as paying the salaries of the master minds that write the software.. and yes Adobe gets some money too. But thats the way it is.. As a matter of fact have you seeing what Adobe does since 2005? If there is a corporation to love today, who is it??

For the “thinking different” minds I have to say that yes, I am a Flash Platform freak. I
believe on it and I love it as nothing else out there.
Not paying for such software is like not paying for Twitter and that is not ok for me. You can call me weird 🙂

Anyway lets go back to the rock..

The reason that I wanted to write this post is because for a long time I was expecting some changes but unfortunately I can not see it yet.

A few days ago I got a newsletter that the Adobe’s distributor had a facelift on their site  so I thought I should visit it. To my big surprise I notice that Flex Builder 2 was listed under the Educational section and it cost 87 euros (exl VAT)  and thats when I started screaming on twitter 🙁

..and they almost are here.. 🙂
Since today that I checked again, Flex Builder is still listed under the Educational section but there is no available info like the other apps have there. Actually the whole line is empty (no version or  platform info).

I really like that they don’t sell it anymore if this is really the case but the fact that Adobe offers Flex Builder 3 Pro for education FOR FREE for a few months now you can imaging how  I felt when I saw that FB 2 actually costs money in Greece.

I would really like to see a push of Adobe’s Educational pricing  model for Flex Builder 3 and ColdFusion 8 from its Greek distributor, Anodos.gr.

So here are your options to GET Flex Builder today if you are in Greece:

Adobe e-store
Keep in mind that through the Adobe e-store you can only download the software and not get a box. My experience with the e-store is nice. The first time I used my credit card I got an email saying that it might take up to 2 days to approve it  and send me the license key and I was freaking out because through the e-store you are supposed to get the software immediately but they emailed me my license in the next 2 hours. If this in not the case for you, you should also have in mind that you can always use the trial software until the serial gets to you. The really cool part of buying software through Adobe’s e-store is that you can always download it again and again along with the license.

Adobe’s distributor in Greece
I’m trying to find Flex Builder on their e-store but unfortunately I can’t. I don’t know why but I do know that they have a large channel in Greece so probably they sell it through other stores. I’m curious about how this affects even more the price but I keep thinking positive.

Adobe Events arroung the world
Adobe is well known for the cool events that is organizing arroung the world with the most famous and after the MAX Conference (yes the Macromedia* Conference) the onAir tour that did last year on the US and Europe. Obviously the economic crisis put on hold those kind of events for now and even MAX Europe will not happen this year but on many Adobe or Adobe related events, software is given away for free from the awesome Platform Evangelism Team.

*you really though I could finish this post without even mention the word?

(forgive me and please correct me if I forgot any other way)

Now the coolest part..

Flex Builder 3 Professional is FREE for education.
All you have to do is visit freeriatools.adobe.com and provide a student ID, faculty ID, employee ID or a letter on an educational institution letterhead stating that you are either a current student, a current faculty member or a current employee of the institution.

..and if that wasn’t enought Adobe took it a bit farther..

Flex Builder is FREE for unemployed developers.
You can read more info on the same page but in short if you are affected by the economic crisis  and you are a developer, Adobe is here to help.

You want more?

ColdFusion 8 is FREE for education.
I guess you know the link now..

Kinda Easter Egg..

When you buy Flex Builder you can order the Flex Framework and Actionscript 3 Class Diagram posters for free! Yes it works for Greece too and the shipping is really fast!

So what about the question title of this post?

Its up to you to find the right answer.

I only wanted to get some facts together to help you.

Go try Flex Builder and let me know your thoughts.

Air Windows..

In this post I will try to describe the window types that we can create on Adobe Air by using Flex Builder and the Flex framework. This is a reference for me so if you think I miss some points please feel free to comment above. Air 1.5 Cookbook by O’reilly will be next to me as I go through this post. *

The First Window is automatically created by AIR.
The properties of this window can be set on the application descriptor file under the initialWindow node(The app descriptor file is named after the project name -”project name”.xml and is located on the src folder of the project).
Those properties are title, systemChrome, transparent, visible, minimizable, maximizable, resizable, width, height, x, y, minSize, maxSize and some others. Many of these properties have a default value which is the most useful for most of the cases so you don’t have to bother. The only required attribute for the initialWindow node is the content (the path to the swf/html file) but if you are using Flex Builder, Flash IDE or DreamWeaver they manage to do the job for you!

Other Windows:

NativeWindow: creates a native operating system window.
We instantiate the NativeWindow class and pass the constructor a NativeWindowInitOptions object.
That object contains the properties of the look and feel of the window.
These properties are: maximizable, minimizable, resizable, systemChrome, transparent, type(normal, utility, lightweight).

Here is a simple example:

<mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”absolute” applicationComplete=”createAnotherWindow()” title=”Core Window>
<mx:Script>
<![CDATA[
private function createAnotherWindow():void
{
//properties fot the new window
var options:NativeWindowInitOptions = new NativeWindowInitOptions();
options.maximizable = 
true;
options.minimizable = 
true;
options.resizable = 
true;
options.systemChrome = NativeWindowSystemChrome.STANDARD;
options.transparent = 
false;
options.type = NativeWindowType.NORMAL;
//the new window
var window:NativeWindow = new NativeWindow(options);
window.title = 
“Second Window”;
window.width = 200;
window.height = 
this.nativeWindow.height;
window.x = 
this.nativeWindow.x + this.nativeWindow.width;
window.y = 
this.nativeWindow.y;
//show it
window.activate();
}
]]>
</mx:Script>
</mx:WindowedApplication>


There are 3 types of windows in AIR and they are defined on theNativeWindowInitOptions type property.

Normal: Appears on the Windows taskbar or the Mac window menu. Chrome from the operating system is used and it looks like that:

Utility: Does not appear on the Windows taskbar or the Mac window menu. Chrome from the operating system is used but in a lighter version (there are no minimize/maximize btns etc).

Lightweight**: Does not appear on the Windows taskbar nor on the Mac window menu, it doesn’t use the system chrome and it “looks” like that:

**Remember that in order to have a Lightweight window we have to set the systemChrome to false.

Notice that the core window doesn’t have focus and that is because I clicked on the Lightweight window which is completely transparent but it exists and it stands on the right side of the core window!

All examples above have being created with the exact same code as the example provided, the only difference between the 3 of them is the type property and in the case of the Lightweight window I also had to change the NativeWindowSystemChrome from STANDARD to NONE.

From now on we can add whatever we like on each stage of each window just by referring to it like that:

window.stage.addChild(”something to add”);

The Flex Framework offers 2 classes for windows, the WindowedApplication and the Window.

As in our example the WindowedApplication acts as the application container for our Flex-based Air app. So the content of that container is actually the content of our initial window. We can use the Window component as a container for additional windows that we might need and we should keep in mind that this component CANNOT be nested inside anyting else because it is a top-level layout container!

Both of these classes have an underline NativeWindow object that they use for creating and controlling the native OS windows. We gain access on that NativeWindow object by using the stage.nativeWindow property of any display object.

As a best practice as I can think and as the Air CookBook suggests is that we should create the extra windows as a separate components based on the <mx:Window> tag and activate them when we need them via MXML or AS.

At first I create an mxml component in a folder called components under the src folder which looks like that:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
<mx:Window xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”vertical” width=”800” height=”600” title=”BrowserWindow>
<mx:Script>
<![CDATA[
private var url:String;
public function set theUrl(url:String):void
{
this.url = url;
browser.location = url;
}
public function get theUrl():String
{
return(this.url);
}
]]>
</mx:Script>
<mx:Label text=”MY BROWSERWINDOW” fontWeight=”bold” fontSize=”17” textAlign=”center” width=”100%” height=”50/>
<mx:HTML id=”browser” width=”100%” height=”100%/>
</mx:Window>

Then I use that component via Actionscript:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
<mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”absolute” applicationComplete=”init()”>
<mx:Script>
<![CDATA[
import components.BrowserWindow;
private function init():void
{
var browser:BrowserWindow = new BrowserWindow();
browser.open(true);
browser.theUrl = “http://www.macromedia.com”;
}
]]>
</mx:Script>
</mx:WindowedApplication>

..or via MXML like that:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
<mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx=”http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml” layout=”absolute” xmlns:browser=”components.*”>
<mx:Script>
<![CDATA[
private function init():void
{
browserWindow.open(true);
browserWindow.theUrl = “http://www.macromedia.com”;
}
]]>
</mx:Script>
<browser:BrowserWindow id=”browserWindow” creationComplete=”init();”/>
</mx:WindowedApplication>

* This post was meant to be a lot bigger but since its in my drafts for over 2 weeks I thought I should release it and when I’ll find some time to extend it more I’ll do it. From the start of writing this post I upgrade WordPress to 2.7 (awesome guys), moved to (mt) (love them so far), traveled 400 kms away from my base in Athens and it took me only 45 minutes since I used a plane for the 1st time for this trip and I spend MANY hours to find a decent WordPress plugin that can format nicely MXML + AS3 in order for you to be able to just copy and paste the code but I finally decided to not use any of them simply because they dont do the job I want.

Thanks for reading, cheers to a happy, flashy, flexy and sexy 2009 full of love, piece and Flash baby Player goodness. 

Be proud and thankful for the best piece of software out there.. the one and only 

Macromedia – Adobe Flash Player!

Savvas

Tour de Flex!

UPDATE: It seems that instead of just creating a super hot Flex Component explorer for the desktop the guys are turning it into an amazing community resource! Besides the commercial/non-commercial components, flex skins, FXs, code sample for mashing up with a lot of services and so many other stuff now the community can add stuff too. I can see the bright future of this app. TweetDeck is my most popular Air app so far but “someone” is taking place in there 🙂 Thanks guys. Check Greg’s post for more info on how to put your mark on this super hot app!   

Greg Wilson, an Adobe Evangelist for Flex, Air, CF and other Adobe goodness blogged about a new super hot Air app (of course) with the name Tour de Flex. It is a Flex Component Explorer application which features a very nice UI as you can see.

From Greg’s post: “The application showcases the core Flex components, AIR capabilities, Flex data access (BlazeDS and LiveCycle DS), numerous coding techniques, cloud APIs, and a growing list of community-developed components, effects, skins and more.  There are 217 total samples in Tour de Flex as of this writing.  We expect to add more every month and have built in a mechanism to easily push out new samples. Each sample has a running demonstration, source code, links to related resources such as ASDocs, community commenting, and more.”

This is the beautiful UI of the app which I have to say that features many nice stuff.

For the Eclipse users and thanks to James Ward (aka RIA Cowboy), the guys also add an Eclipse plugin so now you can directly search from an Eclipse view window!

You can download the app from the right sidebar of this blog or visit the Tour de Flex page which is of course on Flex.org/tour. There is also a pdf guide there 🙂

Congrats guys!

A note to my readers: I would like to apologize for duplicating posts but sometimes there are things that amaze me and I just can’t keep my self from not posting about them. Just to be fair I would like to ask you to read the original post from Greg Wilson because besides the specific post, his blog is realy amazing. I should also mention that I really like his WP theme (so much that for a few months I used the same).

Greg I hope you are not pissed off 😉

Thanks for the great app.

360|Flex from San Jose straight to your browser!

As you probably know 360|Flex took place in San Jose from August 18 – 20.

The amazing think is that the guys there decided to record the videos of the presentations and post them on a new hot project that Mr. Flex {aka Ted Patrick} and some other Adobeans are working on. 

You can use the AMP to subscribe to the feed of 15 videos in a very nice quality. 
Some people (including me) are having problems in subscribing to the feed direct from Ted’s blog so Ted was kind enough to share the link to the feed while he is working on it. You can use it to add the channel to your favorites on the Adobe Media Player.
Just in case you want to see the videos asap and you are already here, I have embedded ALL of them below.

All videos are under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 

Thanks to the 360|Flex team and Ted Patrick for this.